Soccer club draws fire for seating women’s team in coach while men fly upfront

The first joint tour of the women’s and men’s teams in FC Barcelona history has gotten off to a rocky start after fans criticized the club for seating the teams in different classes on a charter flight to the United States. The men’s team flew in business class, while the women traveled in economy.

The team highlighted the historic trip on social media, posting pictures and video of the male and female players posing together on the plane to Portland, Oregon. The men are playing three games in the U.S. as a part of the International Champions Cup, while the women will play SoCal FC in a friendly.

The captains of both squads were photographed in the first-class area before the flight took off on July 25.

One Twitter fan account pointed out the disparity between the official photo and the real travel accommodations after seeing the women’s view on some players’ social media accounts. The tweets quickly gained traction, and the club responded to the controversy.

FC Barcelona expressed regret over the decision and said it was due to a “simple issue”: The club booked the flight before the women were set to join the tour. Both teams will travel in the same class on the next leg of the trip.

“There were no more seats available. [The women’s players] traveled in comfortable places, as they said themselves. Now in the internal flights, everyone will travel in first class,” spokesman Josep Vives told ESPN in a statement. “I think we must value the club’s commitment to women’s sports. We have professionalized the women’s team. We want to make them a top-level team around Europe.

“We have varying women’s teams [and] we are working for the equality in many areas. We believe that generating a controversy for an issue like this is trying to attack us,” Vives said.

Striker Alexia Putellas told Spain’s Mundo Deportivo that the women’s team was “delighted” to be participating in the tour with the men.

“The club had made an effort to organize everything at practically the last minute,” she said, according to translation.

The men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to train together for six days in both Oregon and Los Angeles. The women are scheduled to leave the U.S. on July 29, while the men will stay until Aug. 4.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Categories: International News, US & World News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *